Ketchup Wasn’t Always Ketchup (it was Fish Sauce!)

Let’s talk about ketchup, but not the usual ketchup vs catsup debate. So here’s the thing: back in the day, our favorite red condiment used to be this all-encompassing term for a sauce that was kind of brownish in color. Believe it or not, the true origins can be traced back to an Asian delicacy: fish sauce.

Fish sauce was created in China and spread to various parts of the world, including ancient Greece and Rome. This flavorful condiment went through various names before it reached England, where it was ultimately christened ketchup. And it didn’t become what we know today, until it reached the United States. Learn more about this world-traveling condiment:

In the mid-18th century, England was crazy for ketchup. The sauce was a staple, but this ketchup wasn’t the ubiquitous red goop you’re familiar with today. In fact, it was a sweet and savory brown sauce that didn’t even have tomatoes in it. So where did this early ketchup come from, and how did it become the dip we know and love? Dan Kwartler traces the condiment’s history.

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